Citizenship is the main axis of modern political legitimacy... But for all its evident centrality to modern politics, it would be quite wrong to assume that citizenship itself is well understood.
Paul Magnette is Professor of Political Science at the Université libre de Bruxelles and at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (Sciences-Po). He is the author, editor and co-editor of a dozen books, among which are Le souverain apprivoisé (2000) and What is the European Union? (2005).
This monograph provides a lucid and useful introduction to the various historical transformations of the concept of citizenship. The book has been translated from the original French into crisp, precise English by Katya Long…. Magnette’s guide to the varied career of citizenship is admirably concise and reasonably exhaustive, at least in historical terms; as well as the classical origins of the concept, Magnette analyses its metamorphoses in the thought of such luminaries as Machiavelli, Locke and Rousseau, and presents an interesting, if brief, discussion of Marx’s ambiguous attitude towards the ideal of equal citizenship…. the book provides an excellent resource for those interested in how citizenship has been figured and refigured over history.